2017 continues to be an unusual year in Steiner Woods. After an early and heavy wave of salamander migration, the salamanders stopped coming in and then things froze over for a few weeks. It will be interesting to see whether the break in weather brings out more salamanders. I will host a salamander walk tomorrow (Sunday March 26) if it rains as forecast so you can come find out for yourself. I will confirm or cancel with another post tomorrow afternoon.
Meanwhile, this is the first night I have heard heavy spring peeper and wood frog choruses in Bath. Before the cold returned, wood frog breeding had come and gone at several ponds just miles away in the Cuyahoga Valley. Wood frogs are described as “explosive” breeders, because large numbers aggregate to breed over a short time, usually just a few days. This year’s weather has created an interesting scenario where frogs across small distances are facing very different climates and time constraints during development. Since wood frogs usually breed in ponds that dry out during the summer, that month’s difference could be very important for how much they are able to grow and develop before things dry out. On the other hand, it is very likely that those early laid eggs faced significant mortality and stress from the sustained freezing temperatures.